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Emmanuel Mutai Ready to be Number One(Feb 20 2014, 02:50 PM)



Van Alstine, Gray Lead Team USA Into NACAC XC Champs

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on Feb 20 2014, 03:03 PM

Team USA Poised for Success in Trinidad & Tobago

By Scott Bush

A strong squad leads Team USA into the NACAC Cross Country Championships this weekend in Trinidad and Tobago. USA Cross Country Championships winner Amy Van Alstine and USA Club Cross Country Championships victor Joseph Gray lead the senior women's and senior men's teams, as both squads look to bring home team gold. In 2013, Craig Forys won the men's race, as Team USA brought home the senior men's title, while Mary Kate Champagne led the senior women's squad to a runner-up effort against Team Canada.

Van Alstine is coming off a dominating performance this past weekend in Boulder at the USA Cross Country Championships. The Northern Arizona Elite runner smoked the competition, on her way to an impressive 22 second victory. While Van Alstine seems poised to challenge for the individual title Saturday, she'll be backed up by teammate Kellyn Johnson, who finished fourth at the USA Cross Country Championships. Corey Conner, Carrie Dimoff and Stephanie Dinius round out the senior women's squad, all earning their berth after sixth, tenth and eleventh place showings this past December at the USA Club Cross Country Championships. All five women represented Team USA at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country race last month.

In the senior men's race, Gray looks to build on his very successful last few months of racing. After his winning effort in Bend at the USA Club Cross Country Championships, Gray ran to a fourth place effort last weekend at the USA Cross Country Championships. Gray is joined by Gregory Montgomery, who finished 12th last weekend in Boulder and tenth at the USA Club Cross Country Championships. Richard Medina, Ryan Bak and Samuel Alexander round out the squad after placing sixth, seventh and ninth at the club championship. Similar to the senior women's squad, all five athletes competed for Team USA at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country meet earlier this year.

On the junior men's side, a trio of Stanford teammates lead the charge for Team USA. USA Cross Country junior men's champion Sean McGorty dominated the field last weekend in Boulder, winning by an astonishing 42 seconds. His teammates, Jack Keelan and Sam Wharton, will join him in Trinidad and Tobago, riding their own wave of momentum after second and third place finishes at the USA Cross Country Championships. Fifth place finisher last weekend Estevan De La Rosa gains more international experience after he competed for Team USA at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country meet last month, while University of Portland freshman Jeffrey Thies rounds out the squad.

The junior women, as with the junior men, finished second last year at the NACAC Cross Country Championships and look to improve one spot and bring home gold this weekend. University of Wisconsin freshman Sarah Disanza leads the way after her third place performance in the junior women's race at the USA Cross Country Championships. Disanza should vie for the overall individual title. Butler University freshman Lauren Wood should vie for a top five finish as well. Wood was a top five runner on the trophy winning NCAA cross countrys quad. Grand Valley State freshman Kendra Foley adds depth and experience to the U.S. squad, coming off of her 11th place effort at the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships this past December. University of Oregon freshman Maggie Schmaedick and University of Arkansas freshman Sandie Raines, who ran 16:22 for 5,000m indoors this season.

2014 NACAC Cross Country Roster

Senior Women Corey Conner* Rochester Hills, MI
Senior Women Carrie Dimoff* Portland, OR
Senior Women Stephanie Dinius* Palo Alto, CA
Senior Women Kellyn Johnson* Flagstaff, AZ
Senior Women Amy Van Alstine* Flagstaff, AZ
Senior Men Samuel Alexander* Waterford, CT
Senior Men Ryan Bak* Bend, OR
Senior Men Joseph Gray* Colorado Springs, CO
Senior Men Richard Medina* Boulder, CO
Senior Men Gregory Montgomery* Boise, ID
Junior Women Sarah Disanza* Sussex, NJ
Junior Women Kendra Foley Noblesville, IN
Junior Women Sandie Raines Kingwood, TX
Junior Women Maggie Schmaedick Eugene, OR
Junior Women Lauren Wood* Lebanan, OH
Junior Men Estevan De La Rosa* Arcadia, CA
Junior Men Jack Keelan La Grange Park, IL
Junior Men Sean McGorty Fairfax, VA
Junior Men Jeffrey Thies Huntington Beach, CA
Junior Men Sam Wharton Tipp City, OH
* denotes member of Team USA at 2014 Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country
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